Introduction: Rethinking shakespeare in the social depth of politics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Introducing the relatively recent discovery by the ‘new social history’ of an intelligent and sceptical Tudor popular politics, incorporated into the functioning of the state only precariously and provisionally, often insurgent in the sixteenth century, and wooed by discontented elites inadvertently creating a nascent public sphere, this chapter discusses the varied types and fortunes of plebeian resistance. It also surveys the leading ideas of the new historiography, and suggests the need to rethink the politics of Shakespeare’s plays in the light of their exuberant or embittered penetration by plebeian perspectives. Finally, it examines Measure for Measure in the light of its resistance to the polarizing, anti-populist climate of the late Elizabethan ‘reformation of manners’.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationShakespeare and the Politics of Commoners
Subtitle of host publicationDigesting the New Social History
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages39
ISBN (Electronic)9780198806899
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


  • Measure for measure
  • New social history
  • Popular politics
  • Shakespeare
  • Tudor


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